Exam-grade propaganda

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Just about this time each year, we hear the pronouncement from our Department of Education that public examinations have been scored and transcripts are in the mail.

Inevitably, this is followed by an observation that scores have improved. Wrong!

The Department of Education has absolutely no proof grades have improved over the past.

If the province kept the difficulty level of the examinations constant from year to year, we might find that there is indeed improvement.

As it is pronouncements on improvement are nothing but unproven propaganda exercises.

It is an opportunity missed, since holding the difficulty level of examinations constant from year to year is a straightforward, low cost-exercise if led by a professional knowledgeable in test theory.

Some years ago, one of our premiers declared that Newfoundland and Labrador would professionalize its civil service.

While this was applauded by many, and may have happened in some government departments, it has been derailed in education, especially in the area of test development.

Until that is fixed, we will wander in the proverbial desert, muttering to ourselves that everything is OK, even though dark clouds are gathering on the horizon.

This impending storm will have to be dealt with sooner or later.

I hope we can weather it when it hits.


Russ Blandon (retired teacher/test consultant)

St. John’s



Organizations: Department of Education

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Concerned
    August 01, 2014 - 19:13

    The biggest problem we have is the Minister of Education and he needs to start listening to the teachers, especially when it comes to the math program. King is so out of his league on this cabinet most and the rest he has touched that we can only wonder if the premier is any smarter for keeping him in cabinet. The way King does business makes me wonder if he did not pick up his degrees by teaching himself. No one would have passed this guy especially when it comes to common sense. We need someone in Education that can talk to adults like they are adults, not like we are his students.

  • Mike
    August 01, 2014 - 12:44

    Thanks Russ for exposing this, and more importantly, as a retired teacher for caring. If more teachers wore their hearts on their sleeve like you then maybe our education system wouldn't be the glorified childcare service it is today!

  • MouseAnon
    August 01, 2014 - 09:18

    "Pubic examination"

    • Moderator
      August 01, 2014 - 12:57

      Fixed! Thank you.